Fast fashion is frowned upon by many and I understand why. The impact it is having on the environment is grave and the industry promotes a throwaway culture. However, I think there’s a place in society for cheap fashion clothes and I don’t think the world should automatically condemn people that consume fast fashion.
What is fast fashion?
‘Fast fashion’ has become something of a buzz term, but what does it actually mean? According to Wikipedia, this is “a contemporary term used by fashion retailers to describe designs that flow from the catwalk quickly to capture current fashion trends”. Most cheap fashion clothing falls into the fast fashion category and there’s a lot of it on offer. You can buy dresses from £4 and a whole outfit for under a tenner from some retailers.
It’s a fact that far too much of this cheap clothing is produced. According to The Guardian, “about a fifth of mass-produced clothing does not even sell and ends up being buried, shredded or burned. Garments now account for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Synthetic fibres are being found in Arctic sea ice and in fish.”
Why do you still buy cheap fashion clothes?
Whilst I agree that this industry needs to be regulated, I think it’s unfair to tar cheap fashion clothes as bad. Like most other people, I own a selection of clothing items. Some items are secondhand, some are handmade in the UK and some came from fast-fashion retailers.
I choose to shop in a variety of places, which is mine (and your) prerogative. I also believe that if you shop in the right way, then the fast-fashion industry can provide a money-saving clothing solution that doesn’t have to impact the environment negatively.
I’m not a snob
I think it’s become trendy to say “I don’t purchase fast fashion. I only buy from high-end retailers, or secondhand.” If that’s true and you’ve made that decision, then fair play to you. However, some people can’t afford that luxury and I don’t think they should be shamed for putting clothes on their own (and their children’s) backs.
It’s not all tatt
Last week, thanks to the joy of Facebook memories, I realised I was wearing the same dress that I had on in 2014. It’s a skater dress that I purchased from Boohoo.com. I have no idea how much it cost, but I’d guess that it was no more than £12. That dress has come out every year since I bought it and it looks brand new.
That skater dress wasn’t a one-off fluke. I’ve bought other cheap fashion items that have lasted me a long time. Sometimes, I purchase something and I love it so much that I wear it over and over and I end up wishing I’d bought two whilst I had the chance! I’m not saying that every time I buy something, it lasts. But I think it’s wrong to say that cheap fashion clothes are only fit for the bin after a couple of wears.
I think the key to buying cheap fashion clothes is being selective. Not everything on the Primark rail is going to look good on you and not everything is going to last. But you can be picky when deciding what to buy, as there’s plenty of choice.
I always look at something and think, how often will I wear that? And I like to work out in my mind if I think I can get the item down to £1 per wear. This means, if an item is £30, I need to be sure in my mind that I will get at least 30 wears out of it.
Re-purpose old clothes
Sometimes you go off something, or it no longer fits. But that doesn’t mean it has to go in the bin. You can send it to the charity shop if it’s in good condition, or pass it onto a friend.
If I think an item is too worn to wear again, then I’ll take it to my local recycling centre. I’ve also cut up old dresses to use as dusters and a friend of mine has made pin cushions and blankets out of her old clothes.
I keep my ear to the ground, to ensure that I’m informed about fast fashion. If I hear that a particular company isn’t adhering to good practice then I take my custom elsewhere. But I will keep an item if I’ve already purchased it.
Is it worth it?
I know that fast fashion is a problem and collectively we need to do something to solve it. However cheap fashion clothing isn’t the devil.
Is buying cheap fashion clothes worth it? Absolutely. Is fast fashion a problem? Absolutely. But I don’t think the two are interchangeable. What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.
If you enjoyed this article and you’re interested in other pieces of alternative opinion, then check out my article on no risk matched betting and the reasons I don’t think it exists.